And a succession plan is being developed
In what could be in preparation for a planned transition, the contract of the city administrator for Platte City has been extended, but only for a additional eight months onto his current deal
An extension of eight months on the contract of DJ Gehrt was approved by the Platte City Board of Aldermen recently. Approval gives Gehrt a contract good until July of 2023.
When July 1, 2023 arrives, the agreement can be extended on a month-to-month basis upon written agreement of Gehrt and the city, which means there is some flexibility built into the agreement okayed by city officials a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s an attempt to have a long-term succession plan so that we do not have large numbers of senior staff members leave at or near the same time,” Gehrt said this week when asked about the pact. “The agreement is not a retirement decision but it is the first step in a planned transition sometime in the next several years, depending on conditions.”
Senior staff at the City of Platte City are considered to be the city administrator, police chief, public works director, finance officer, city clerk and planning/building officer.
“As all of the senior staff are at different places/times in our careers and lives, the July 2023 date provides the city with the flexibility to plan for a future city administrator transition, depending on the career decisions and timelines of the rest of the senior staff,” Gehrt told The Landmark this week.
Ryan Crowley, who had served as public works and parks director, resigned last month to take a position with the City of Olathe. If Crowley’s vacancy is filled shortly, the public works director will have 18 months before the earliest end of Gehrt’s agreement.
“If all goes well and there is a good long term succession plan to make sure the city has good senior staff overlap, July 2023 may be a good time for the next city administrator to start,” Gehrt remarked.
On the other hand, “if staff succession planning goes awry and we have too many senior staff leaving at the same time, the agreement provides the flexibility to extend the time period and delay the city administrator transition, if the board feels that it’s in the best interests of the city,” Gehrt explained.
Gehrt has been city administrator in Platte City for nearly 10 years, having started on the job in November of 2011, receiving several contract extensions along the way.
His current annual salary as of the most recent extension is $112,000. The extension entitled him to an additional five days of paid leave to be used through Dec. 31 of this year. For the time period between Jan. 1, 2022 through June 30 of 2023, Gehrt is entitled to a pro-rated benefit of an additional 10 paid time off days per calendar year. Such additional leave must be used in the calendar year in which it is earned, according to the agreement.
Aldermen approved the extension of Gehrt’s employment agreement by a vote of 4-1 with one alderman absent. Voting in favor were Vickie Atkins, John Higgins, Dan Laxson and Steve Hoeger. Opposed was Troy Miller, who did not respond to a Landmark request for comment. Absent was Debbie Kirkpatrick.